Brazil’s Unified System for Social Assistance will receive $66 million from the IDB

The project will support Brazilian government plans to improve social assistance to the most vulnerable families

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $66 million loan to the Brazilian government to improve social assistance provided by the Unified System for Social Assistance (SUAS - Sistema Único de Assistência Social). The loan will support the institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Social Development and the Fight Against Hunger, which manages the system.

Although Brazil’s indices of social wellbeing have improved exponentially, approximately 16 million people still live in poverty. About 75 percent of the poor are in the North and Northeast regions of the country.

To overcome this situation, the Federal government’s anti-poverty program Brazil Without Misery will use the SUAS network of social assistance centers to reach families living in poverty and extreme poverty. Brazil Without Misery combines social welfare, food and nutritional security, health, education, and housing, along with employment and income generation.

The project will expand and upgrade locally-based social assistance centers, improving the delivery of services. Plans include the construction of 230 social assistance centers, the training of 32,000 professionals, the adoption of a standardized approach to monitoring vulnerable families, and the establishment of protocols and parameters for their treatment and management.

"The program will makethe CRAS (Social Assistance Reference Centers)and CREAS (Social Assistance Specialized Reference Centers) networks more effective andwill allow standardized follow-up for the families served. The most vulnerable families will have access to benefits and social services, depending on the needs identified by CRAS teams, including services provided by the private welfare network,” said IDB Senior Health Specialist and team leader Rita Sório.

The investments planned to strengthen SUAS total $97.7 million, of which $66 million will come from the IDB. The loan is for 25 years with a six-year grace period and variable interest based on LIBOR. The Brazilian federal government’s counterpart financing is $31.7 million.

The Unified Social Services System – SUAS

The SUAS network provides preventive and remedial services. The first come from the Basic Social Protection program, which offers integrated, locally-based services, programs, and projects of support, life skills, and socialization to families and individuals identified as vulnerable by CRAS (Social Assistance Reference Centers).

Remedial services are provided by CREAS (Social Assistance Specialized Reference Centers)in cooperation with the judicial system, the Public Ministry, and other agencies. They serve clients in medium- and high-complexity situations, including victims of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, as well as clients who have been abandoned or whose family ties have been broken by judicial action.